CULTURE

Theodorakis, in three volumes

A three-volume series documenting various writings and thoughts by the renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis in the form of interviews, articles and public statements, was recently presented at a news conference held at the artist’s home in Athens, by the Acropolis. The publication, «Pou Na Vro Tin Psychi Mou» (Livanis Press), takes its titled from an excerpt from Odysseas Elytis’s epic work «Axion Esti,» which Theodorakis turned into music for one of his most celebrated compositions. The three tomes, edited and compiled by Ioanna Kolovou, offer insight into the veteran composer’s views on music, art in general, and civilization. «The [launch’s] choice of venue by the Acropolis is not incidental because the man himself is an Acropolis, not only for our musical heritage but, I would say, for Greek culture in general,» remarked Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, at the presentation. Venizelos, commending Kolovou’s editing effort, noted that the project was extraordinarily difficult as Theodorakis is a «phenomenon that slips through the fingers because it is everywhere.» Commenting on Theodorakis’s life achievement, Education Minister Petros Efthymiou, who was also present at the launch, said that the composer had had widespread impact on the nation and «above all, obliges you to challenge yourself.»   Toward the end of the launch, the minister announced that a high school in Oropos, north of Athens, would adopt the composer’s name following demands by teaching staff and students. Various other dignitaries also extended their accolades to Theodorakis. Christoforos Argyropoulos, a prominent lawyer, described the new publication as «deeply honest,» economics Professor Adamantios Pepelasis said the composer was a pioneering force in the international intellectual community propelled by «a fertile chaos,»and lyricist Lefteris Papadopoulos, comparing Theodorakis’s writing skills to his work as a composer, noted, «There’s an exceptional writer in the exceptional composer.» It is important to offer deserved credit to talented individuals who have altered our perception of music and culture in general. However, huge accolades, such as the many heard during the launch, are not necessary to understand the worth of Theodorakis – a man «worshiped by the Greek people,» as Papadopoulos, the lyricist, noted – or his role in and impact on contemporary Greek music, as well as his brave stance during the turbulent periods in modern Greek history over the past six decades. Commenting on himself, the 78-year-old Theodorakis said: «I was interested in everything, not because I have the ability to deal with everything. As a responsible citizen, I had to be interested in everything, and everything did interest me.» Besides being a major composer, Theodorakis has stood out as an active member of society with marked opinions on various issues and a whole philosophy of life. He has written, spoken, disagreed, even made mistakes, but indisputably he has always taken part, and still does. The writings featured in this new three-volume publication reflect this course, which is what makes it worthwhile.